Does It Matter How We Pronounce Jesus' Name?


There are some groups today that say we must pronounce the name of Jesus in a certain way or we are sinning. Some say His name must be pronounced according to...

  • ...the original Greek in which the New Testament was written: (Iota Eta Sigma Micron Upsilon Sigma) (pronounced Há-soos´);
  • ...the Hebrew (pronounced Yeh-hah shoo´ah or Yeh-shoo´ah);
  • ...the Aramaic Yêšû` (pronounced Yá-soo´);
  • ...English Jesus (pronounced Jee-zus´).
  • Those who insist on a particular pronunciation assert that the English name "Jesus" is a transliteration of the Aramaic name Yêšû`, deriving from the pagan Greek god "Zeus", and really means "hail Zeus".

    Is there a definitive answer as to what the Messiah's real name is? Yes, and it is found right there in your New Testament.

    As you know, the New Testament was written in Greek. If there were ever any original Hebrew manuscripts of the New Testament, they don't exist today. We only have Greek ones from that period of time. Since we only have the Greek manuscripts, it is from them that we need to investigate what the Apostles wrote about Jesus. In other words, we begin our investigation based on what we do have, not on what we don't have.

    But rather than initiate a linguistics study of the word "Jesus" itself, let's ask this question: Is the pronunciation of a word — any word — the foundation or rule by which we determine if one is Christian or not? No. It is the receiving of Jesus as Lord and Savior that makes us a Christian. We are saved by faith in the Messiah's work on Calvary, which can neither be undone nor made more valuable or precious by how we pronounce the name of our Savior

    In fact, to insist on a particular pronunciation, as if there is some mystical power in it, rather relegates its use to a form of idolatry. We are not to worship or venerate anything except the Lord Jesus Christ — the Messiah — Yeshua haMashiach. Just as we don't worship the cross or the blood as somehow having some superior spiritual power, neither do we worship the name. We worship the Man!

    The "God Who Died by Execution"
    There's a story about the wicked Communist leader, Pol Pot in Cambodia, who sent his troops out to execute anyone rich, educated, or Christian. The soldiers went into the jungles executing people by the thousands. They came to one village where they rounded up everyone at gun point. The soldiers dug a wide and deep pit in the middle of the village, and then ordered everyone, including the children to stand at the edge of the pit.

    Then a soldier took his hand gun, walked behind them, and started shooting them one at a time in the back of the head; and they would fall into the pit.

    After shooting several people, as the soldier came to one woman and placed his gun on the back of her head, the little lady shouted aloud, "OH GOD! THE GOD WHO DIED BY EXECUTION! SAVE ME!" Suddenly, the soldier lifted his gun off her head, put his gun in his holster, ordered all the other soldiers back into their vehicles, and off they drove, never to be seen by those villagers again!

    Those left standing at the pit, who knew they would have been killed next, just stood there in silence looking at the little lady who had just called on "the God who died by execution". She had never heard the name "Jesus". She only heard, one time in her life, that somewhere there was a God, who was the real and true God . . . and He had died by execution...

    Those villagers, who had served thousands of gods and knew nothing of Jesus, except what that little lady had shared, then got down on their knees and each and every one of them called on "the God who died by execution". After they got back up, they gathered up all of their gods and destroyed them.

    Their testimony became well-known as those who "serve the God who died by execution". They still did not know His name or anything else about Him. All they knew about Him was "the God who died by execution" had saved all of them from certain execution!

    It would be 14 more years before a missionary would visit their little village and tell them the name of the God in whom they had already placed all their trust!

    [Story Source: Pastor Jentezen Franklin of Free Chapel Church, in Gainesville, Georgia. View the video on YouTube.]

    So, the question again is: Do we become Christians by how we pronounce Jesus' name, or do we become Christians by putting our faith in "the God who died by execution"?

    The truth is, as linguists will tell us, no one really knows exactly how Jesus' name would have been pronounced in the ancient Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic languages. We might have a pretty good idea, but no one can be 100% certain of the correct pronunciation of any of the forms of the name of Jesus. Therefore, those who say we must pronounce Christ's name in a certain way, in fact, may themselves be mispronouncing the Messiah's true name.

    Don't get caught up in Satan's game of "name calling". Instead, get caught up and passionate about the Man whom we call Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer, Healer, Provider, Sanctifier, Justifier, Shepherd, "God with us" Immanuel, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, the Lamb of God and Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the One who was and who is and who is to come, the One who died but behold is alive forevermore . . . . "the God who died by execution"!

    Copyright © 2011 Rev. Linda Smallwood

    Bookmark and Share

         View Rev. Linda Smallwood's profile on LinkedIn